We’re in the midst of a pandemic. Working from home probably seems impossible when your business relies on in-person interaction. You might feel a little (or a lot) lost right now. At least, that’s how I felt when I had to shut down Pongos Learning Lab. We were hit pretty hard by the shutdowns, when we had to cancel all of our in-person parties, camps, and clubs. After grieving the loss for a bit, I decided to do something with my suddenly free time. I hope my actions can help inspire you to get your own business online.
If you’d like ongoing inspiration and tips to help your get your business online, make sure you join our Facebook group: Get Your Business Online.
1. Get Social
About a week after I shuttered Pongos Learning Lab, a friend gave me the idea to interview another small business owner using Facebook Live. That turned into a “cool jobs” series of interviews on my Pongos Learning Lab Facebook page. I interviewed an animal trainer, K9 technician, photojournalist, an Antarctic expedition guide, and more.
These interviews have helped keep Pongos Learning Lab active on social media, with positive messages, and engaging content. They have engaged existing followers, and also help bring us many more. Viewers can interact during the live broadcast, which helps keep them social while still social distancing.
If you’re not already active on social media, now is a great time to start. Take advantage of Facebook Live. Start sharing Instagram and Facebook stories. Tweet! Build your library of “evergreen” (continually relevant) content. Research hashtags.
For Facebook Live interviews, I use StreamYard. The “Basic” plan lets me broadcast to two destinations at a time, so for the “cool jobs” series, I broadcast to both the Pongos Learning Lab Facebook page and YouTube channel.
2. Work on Your Website
I have spent the last several weeks working on content for all of my websites. This week I plan to add some evergreen webinars and a free, online course to this website, to help direct sales to some of my services. Next week I’m working on updating the portfolio.
Now is also a great time to focus on that website that has been languishing for months, or years. Spruce it up. Add new content. Fix old problems. Add features. Get that SEO you’ve been meaning to get to for years done!
This is easy for me to say, because I’m a web developer, so I can just do it all myself. If you don’t have the skills to do it yourself, now would be a great time to learn them. Not sure where to start? Schedule a free, 30-minute consult with me, and I’ll try to help point you in the right direction.
3. Take Your Products and/or Services Online
A large part of my business with Pongos Learning Lab is birthday parties. We offer some really fun STEM activities, gaming, animation, and more. When I stopped to really think about it, I realized that I could offer a lot of those activities through Zoom, or another online meeting space. So now I’m offering Virtual Parties.
If people usually come into your physical location to do business with you, think about ways to take that business online. Do you sell goods? Set up an online store. Do you sell services that can be done virtually? Sell them online, and provide them via Zoom or some other medium. Get creative! If you need some help noodling through this, let me know, and I’m happy to help you come up with some options.
4. Start a Blog
Since Pongos Learning Lab is closed, I’ve been finding ways to work “on” my business instead of “in” it. Blogging is one way to do that. I have a “Toys We Tried” series, and I’ve been working on several posts that will be published in the coming weeks.
Write about what you know, and share your knowledge with a blog. Blogging has the added benefit of helping you to position yourself as an industry expert. Make your blog the place people want to go to read up on your area of expertise. You can use WordPress.com to do this, or if you already have a website, you can add your blog to it.
5. Create an Online Course
One of the first things I did after Pongos Learning Lab was shut down was start creating video content for courses we normally did in person. I recorded myself making various types of slime, creating a stop-motion animation, recording a video for YouTube, and more. All of that ended up on a new website, Pongos Online, where kids can take online courses, and participate in virtual clubs.
If you are an expert, turn that experience into online courses and other premium content, and make some money doing it! You can use many tools to do this, including Kajabi, Teachable, Thinkific, and even WordPress with a LMS (Learning Management System) plugin. There are a lot of options.
Get your business online! I know you can do it. If you need help, remember that you can schedule a free, 30-minute consult with me to figure out the best course of action.